Author: CYA

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DHS Extends TPS for Six Countries

At least 400,000 individuals from six countries, including Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, will have their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) automatically extended for 15 months. The order is a result of DHS’ compliance with various federal district court orders from three separate federal lawsuits that were filed in response to the Trump Administration’s attempt to end the designations for the Central American nations. The automatic extension decision was announced by the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday and will be filed in the Federal Registrar.

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USCIS Conducts Second Random Selection for H-1B Cap Registrations

On July 28, 2021, USCIS announced that there was a second random selection of H-1B cap-subject registrants to reach the FY2022 numerical allocations. Selected registrants will have their myUSCIS accounts updated with a selection notice. The filing period for the new H-1B cap selections will begin on August 2, 2021, and close on November 3, 2021. Curray York & Associates will be in contact with any of our registrants who have been selected in the second round.

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Government of Canada Eases Some Travel Restrictions

Yesterday, the Government of Canada announced details of the first phase of its approach to ease border measures for travelers entering Canada. Specifically, beginning at 11:59p.m. EDT on July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated travelers who are permitted to enter Canada will not be subject to the federal requirement to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test on day 8. Moreover, travelers arriving by air who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to stay at a government hotel.

Fully vaccinated travelers will still be subject to all other mandatory requirements, including pre- and on-arrival testing. Travelers must also be asymptomatic, have a proper documentation of having received the full series of a vaccine or combination of vaccines at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. Some provinces and territories may have their own entry restrictions in place, so it is extremely important to check any additional requirements before traveling.

The closure of Canada’s border with the United States to nonessential travel currently remains effective until July 21, 2021. For more information about this policy update or questions about your specific case,  please schedule a consultation with one of the attorneys at Curray York & Associates.

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Among National Worker Shortage, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Calls for Immigration Reform

Companies across the United Sates are reporting a hiring crisis, unable to find workers to fill their jobs. Some employers are even offering hiring bonuses to employees, such as a $,1500 sign on bonus for certain new hires at the Isle Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado. As businesses struggle to reconcile these record-high job openings, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is calling on Congress and the White House to reform immigration policy to encourage economic growth and job creation in the U.S. Specific examples suggested by the Chamber include: protecting Dreamers, TPS recipients, and employment-authorized H-4 dependent spouses from losing work authorization, and seeking cap increases and other reforms to employment-based visa programs to provide employers with the ability to meet their workforce needs. In addition to citing a boost in economic growth, job creation, and spurring innovation and entrepreneurship, the Chamber cites that this move would, “renew America’s legacy of being an open and welcoming country where anyone who works hard can achieve his or her dreams.”

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Biometrics Halted for Certain I-539s to Begin May 17, 2021

Acting Associate Director of Service Center Operations for USCIS Connie Nolan has confirmed that the requirement of biometrics for H-4, L-2, and E-1, E-2 and E-3 categories of Form I-539 will be suspended for 24 months, beginning May 17, 2021. Since March 2019, USCIS has required all individuals submitting a Form I-539 application to complete biometrics. The policy has resulted in numerous lawsuits that have challenged the reasonableness of processing times due to unprecedented backlogs of Form I-539 applications.

The suspension of the biometrics requirement is to apply to Form I-539 applications in H-4, L-2, and E-1, E-2 and E-3 categories that are pending as of the effective date of the policy and have not yet received a biometric services appointment notice, and new applications received by USCIS after the effective date of the policy through the stated expiration date.

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The Expiration of Presidential Proclamation 10052

Since June 22, 2020, many categories of nonimmigrants have been prevented from seeking entry to the United States due to Presidential Proclamation 10052. Enacted by former President Trump, the proclamation drastically reduced visa issuance and entry for nonimmigrants around the world. The ban was set to end on December 31, 2020, but was subsequently extended through March 31, 2021, citing the false premise that these nonimmigrants threatened our country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of today, April 1, 2021, the ban has officially expired, and the Department of State (DOS) has confirmed that the ban is no longer in effect.  The DOS has issued guidance regarding the phased resumption of visa services, but ultimately concludes that consular services will operate on a “post-by-post” basis. Accordingly, visa applicants should not assume that the expiration of the visa ban will result in immediate resumption of routine nonimmigrant visa processing.

COVID-related travel restrictions and travel bans are still in effect and are changing daily. We are still advising all of our clients to pay careful attention to these changes and know the risks associated with international travel at this time.

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Say Goodbye to the Public Charge Rule!

The Public Charge Rule is finally dead, as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that it will no longer pursue appellate review of judicial decisions invalidating or enjoining enforcement of the 2019 Public Charge Final Rule.  Consistent with Executive Order 14012 directing a comprehensive review of the rule, DHS determined that continuing to defend the rule is, “neither in the public interest nor an efficient use of limited government resources.”

DHS has announced that once the public charge rule is permanently vacated, it will be following the 1999 interim field guidance on the public charge inadmissibility provision, at which time the Form I-944 will no longer be required.

We will be updating our blog with the latest developments as we learn of them.

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National Interest Exceptions for Students Traveling from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

On February 10, 2021, the U.S. State Department announced that students traveling from the Schengen Area, U.K., and Ireland who currently possess a valid visa will no longer need to seek a National Interest Exception (NIE)  to travel to the United States. Instead, they will be automatically considered under a general NIE and will be able to travel to the United States without needing to contact a U.S. embassy or consulate prior to travel.

F-1 and M-1 students who do not possess a valid visa are still required to obtain a visa as they normally would. Students seeking to apply for a new F-1 or M-1 visa should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate. If the applicants are found otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa, they will automatically be considered for a NIE to travel.

Business travelers, investors, academics, J-1 students, journalists, and treaty traders are still being directed to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling to apply for a national interest exception.

The attorneys at Curray York & Associates will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to this blog as we become aware of them.

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President Biden’s Executive Orders – February 2, 2021

On February 2, 2021, President Joe Biden signed three executive orders that aim to rectify the consequences of some of the hardline regulations, policies, and guidance on immigration that were set in place by the Trump Administration.

1) Establishment of Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families
The first executive order revokes the Trump Administration executive order that sought to justify separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. President Biden condemned the Trump Administration’s use of the “Zero- Tolerance” policy, stating that the Biden Administration will “protect family unity and ensure that children entering the United States are not separated from their families, except in the most extreme circumstances where a separation is clearly necessary for the safety and well-being of the child or is required by law.” The order created an interagency family reunification task force to work to reconnect the hundreds of parents and children who were separated at the border under the “Zero-Tolerance” policy. The task force will work with U.S. government agencies, key stakeholders, and representatives of impacted families to recommend steps to reunify the families and to prevent family separation from occurring in the future.

2) Southern Border and the Asylum System
The White House also issued an executive order that aims to implement a comprehensive three-part plan for safe, lawful, and orderly migration across the southern border. The Administration will first address the underlying causes of migration by confronting instability, violence, and economic insecurity, then collaborate with regional partners to provide protection and opportunities to asylum seekers. The final goal is to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers have a legal pathway to the United States and to strengthen the United States’ asylum system and resettlement capacity. The order also directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to review the Migrant Protection Protocols (“Remain in Mexico”) program.

3) “Restore Faith in our Immigration System and Promote Integration of New Americans”
President Biden also signed an executive order that requires the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a “top-to-bottom” review of recent regulations, policies, and guidance that have been enacted as barriers to our legal immigration system. The executive order aims to ultimately reverse or rescind actions that are inconsistent with the current administration’s policy objectives to “encourage full participation by immigrants, including refugees, in our civic life; that immigration processes and other benefits are delivered effectively and efficiently; and that the Federal Government eliminates sources of fear and other barriers that prevent immigrants from accessing government services available to them.” In addition to announcing goals to streamline the naturalization process, the policy directs an interagency review of the public charge grounds of inadmissibility and revoke’s the prior administration’s policy to enforce the “legal responsibilities of sponsors of aliens.” The order also re-establishes the Obama Administration’s “Task Force on New Americans” that is focused on better integrating immigrants and refugees into American life.

The attorneys at Curray York & Associates are closely following the changes to immigration law and policy under the Biden Administration and will provide updates as we become aware of them.